Slow News Sunday Summary – May 19th

  • Cherisse in rehearsals for Kelly Jones tour
  • Sir talks writing songs and Govanhill library

“No news is good news” the old saying goes. In that case, Simple Minds HQ is positively drowning in good news! Lol

Just the one post this week from The Mister after last Sunday’s “I’ve woken up thinking about gigging” exciting little fluttering bit of info.

This week’s post had him talking about golden tickets and how luck sometimes falls your way. And how a knew piece of potential SM magic found its way to being formed.

Jim Kerr – do you EVER have a “bad day”? One where you’ve just…had enough? You feel a bit sorry for yourself? Stay in bed under the covers? No…of course you don’t.

*sigh*

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Anyways…

Cherisse is currently in rehearsals with Kelly Jones. Oh, I could do with a lesson from her right about now! I am losing what little semblance of faith I had in myself.

Won’t bore you with the details…but let’s just say I am feeling disillusioned again and Aunt Fanny is shouting louder than ever. She’s a f***ing bitch, but I can’t help feeling she has a point!

I KNOW IT WILL TAKE TIME! I just wish I could have some faith in my ability to actually get somewhere with it. I want to believe that in two years time I’ll be drumming with some kind of competency. But…no. I’m not sure I believe it.

Anyway…I’ve ended up making this about me.

No news is good news! Convince me…

P.S. Book cover shared is the one he shared from my having asked him what the first book he borrowed from the library was. Was he taking liberties? I am never sure when it comes to Mr Kerr. He’s a cagey (and snarky!) bugger.

Slow News Sunday Summary – May 12th

Well, it has been quieter than ever on the SM front this week. Having said that, Mr Kerr has increased his interactivity on FB ten fold this week! Well, it feels it anyway.

And it’s very welcome. His posts are always so…I dunno…enlightening. I suppose that is the optimum word.

He can post some funny things. Give the fans a giggle. Then express something quite profound. He also has me looking at things deeper, questioning things, pondering others.

And sometimes I am going through low periods and little internal struggles. And it may lead me to question things he says. Doubt him. Or feel he’s being too frivolous, too simplistic in his viewpoint…but ultimately he is always giving me positivity and hope and sometimes even brushes off some of his incredible self-belief on to me…which I will ALWAYS be thankful for.

His post this morning? Talk of getting back on the road and gigging (sandwiched between talk of John Lee Hooker, blues music and its working class roots). I mean…geez…SSOOOO welcome! But it comes with a modicum of panic.

My passport expired on Tuesday and it is going to cost a minimum of £230 to renew. Yes, Australian passports are shit expensive! Even more expensive for us expats, because £100 is added to the cost for processing the application overseas. And if I want my leave to remain document transferred to the new passport so I only have to carry a single passport (I didn’t get it transferred last time and always had to carry both my old passport and current passport with me), then that’s yet ANOTHER £100 on top! £230 is just a ballpark figure…the actual charge is dependent on the exchange rate of currency on the day it is processed.

Apart from that…one word…SKINT. Like, really skint. Impending bankruptcy kinda skint.

So, yep…the drumming lessons feel ridiculously frivolous right now. But…well, I’ve started now, right?

Anyway…mustn’t dwell. The only hope is that this bloody golden carrot of money coming our way will arrive soon. There is still nothing concrete about it yet. Perhaps July is now the new hopeful timeframe of something arriving. But it is just wishful thinking still at this stage.

But! It is fantastic to hear Jim talk of getting back on the road. And it’s good to feel a bit more of a presence from him on FB. Perhaps he is now getting itchy feet and a bit bored so he’ll be on a bit more? Even a small mercy like that is so SO welcome to me.

Please, Sir. Say you’ll be around a little bit more? 🥰😘😘😘🥰

Slow News Sunday Summary – April 28th

Well, seeing as most days there is not much to report, I have decided to coin the SM “Slow News Sunday Summary”. A look at what morsels have been reported via SMO or other related avenues during the past seven days.

  • Cherisse on tour with Kelly Jones in June/July
  • Sir’s been to Sicily
  • Sarah’s Saturday night gig
  • Rejuvenation albums now available individually as singles

On Wednesday it was officially revealed by Cherisse on her social media that she will be playing with Kelly Jones (Stereophonics’ frontman) during his solo tour of the UK in June and July. A fan had heard an interview with Jones on radio saying that he was “interviewing” a drummer to tour with him and that SHE currently plays for Simple Minds. A rather large giveaway, but I was remaining nonplussed about it until word came from Cherisse herself.

I had a drumming lesson with her on Thursday and we talked about the news. She said some fans got into a panic, asking her whether it meant the end of her time with SM.

Have no fear, peeps! She’s just grabbing the opportunity for some gigging while there is SM downtime.

Also taking the opportunity to explore other musical avenues during the SM downtime is Sarah Brown, who was a guest of a group called Casca, playing a gig last night in Camden. I would have loved to have gone, but honestly, I cannot reiterate how skint I am right now. But I would have loved to have gone and shown some support.

Jim had a few days in Sicily earlier in the week. Some downtime for him from a busy schedule of writing, etc… all actually very elusive as to what else he’s doing other than him saying he’s “writing”.

Anyway…mustn’t dwell on how quiet it is, eh? And actually, I SHOULD be thankful because I have sod all money to do anything with … and that would be FAR worse! If they were touring around and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Speaking of things that cost money that I can’t really do anything about…
After now having released the Rejuvenation box sets and having had us all invest in those (well, those of us who could…), the albums and CDs are now available to purchase individually.

I am now in absolute dilemma mode. A huge part of me wants the box sets because of the packaging. Another part of me says it means I can invest in the vinyl that I was most interested in getting from the box set with a smaller outlay spread over time. The CD/DVD box set I definitely DO want to invest in. But it is going to have to wait.

Until next week, folks…keep it Simple x

Stewart Copeland – Royal Festival Hall, London – March 30th, 2019

After Thursday’s affair at The Stranglers gig, I was thankful to know that I’d be seated at the Stewart Copeland gig.

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From my memory of how the side seats looked when I was there for the Manic Street Preachers/The Anchoress Meltdown gig last June, the seats appeared like they’d give you a pretty good view. I suppose the rail could make it a little restricted with the view, especially if you’re a short person and sit low in your seat but for less than half the price of the stall seats, it made it an affordable last minute choice to go.

And I chose my seat well. There were seats either side of the auditorium. Both seats I was viewing when buying my ticket would have given me very similar views of the stage. It was just down to me whether I’d feel more comfortable facing the stage via facing it to the right or left. For some reason I couldn’t quite understand, I was favouring sitting on the left side. It ended up a great choice as from how you see in the few sneaky snaps I took, Stewart’s kit was facing – what was for him from the stage side perspective, the right side of the auditorium. I had a prime view.

He arrived on stage promptly at 7.30pm, wishing the crowd a good evening. Cracked some jokes about half of his children were probably in the audience…or the actual audience! Lol. He started with film scores.

Tunes from Rumble Fish, Wall Street, his work on the Ben Hur live experience, the Spyro videogame soundtrack….as well as the odd Police number (in which he gave praise to Sting – I nearly fell off my chair! “Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner – the greatest songwriter ever to exist on the planet” – quote/unquote!), playing Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Darkness and Miss Gradenko. And no Stewart Copeland set would be complete without The Equalizer, which he strangely did not perform but handed it over to the orchestra conductor who just happened to be a rather accomplished drummer himself. Stewart by way of a role swap, conducted the orchestra on the piece, as you can only imagine Stewart Copeland would…with quite a few giggles from the crowd as he made over exaggerated hand gestures and at one point did the Twist whilst still conducting away.

I think he also played something from The Rhythmatist and also played some Balinese Gamelan music.

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He talked in between every piece, telling a brief story behind each. How they came to take place, etc. Namedropping directors like Oliver Stone and Francis Ford Coppola along the way. Always bringing out chuckles in the audience.

With a 20 minute interval about 45 minutes into the set, the gig came in at just on two hours. All done and dusted by 9.30pm. I had never been out of a gig so early! I was back at Victoria by 9.50 and on the coach back to Luton just after 10pm. And back in the door at home by 11.30pm. Incredible!

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Any worries I may suffer a repeat of Thursday were long gone. I had a draining journey back from Weston-super-Mare during the day, but was soon revived with a meal and a short meander around the Southbank of London.

Stewart put on a great show. Great musicianship by the orchestra. Stewart was in good form both musically and as a general showman and class goofball.

It was a great night. I was so happy to have seen him. At times during the set I had been sitting their inwardly pinching myself, thinking “I am actually HERE watching Stewart Copeland play! This is fucking amazing!” And it was.

The Stranglers – O2 Academy, Bristol – 28th March, 2019

It was quite a hike from Luton to Bristol. First a trip to London, then on from there to Bristol. I arrived at 3.45pm and met up with a friend shortly after.

We had a bite to eat at the Boston Tea Party at the top of Park Street. A nice place. Looks deceptively small on the outside, but has plenty of seating upstairs. I needed to fuel up before the gig, so had a chai latte, a veggie burger and chips.

We queue outside that venue around 6pm. We were met with a few other fans after…and the queue got progressively longer. Another friend us in the queue around 6.40 and we were let in a few minutes before 7pm.

Support act was Dr Feelgood. A curious support in that there is not a single original member of the band within the group. But they were great all the same. Great musicianship. The singer was quite a showman but at least he was animated and not standing about looking like he’d prefer to be elsewhere.

The only two Dr Feelgood songs I know are Milk And Alcohol and Roxette and they performed those. The only thing I’d say as a negative was, although the overall sound level was great, the singer was lost in the mix. He was too low. Couldn’t much hear him either singing or playing the harmonica. Other than that, the set was great and I really enjoyed them.

All good. Everything going well.

Just a short break and then out come the boys. We were in a prime position, right in front of JJ. I filmed a bit here and there and have one complete song of them performing set opener Tank.

All was going good. The following day was Dave Greenfield’s 70th birthday, and my friend, Ruth, had made a special celebratory banner for him. After a few songs, Ruth produced the banner from her pocket and we held it up against the barrier. JJ noticed it and nodded approval, then he went over and got Dave’s attention and pointed it out to him. A short while later, Baz noticed it too and asked Ruth to throw it up on the stage to him. Baz then clipped it to the front of Dave’s keyboard stand and it stayed there for the rest of the gig.

About half way through the set I was starting to feel unwell. Light headed and just…not sure of myself. A little overheated, but it was so cramped in there, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my jumper off.

I sat down and would have probably revived myself had I been allowed to stay there a few mins, but security guard came over and told Ruth I needed to stand back up, that it was too dangerous for me to sit at the barrier. I stood back up and I was not too bad initially. JJ checked with me that I was okay and I had mouthed to him I was fine and gave him a thumbs up. I was just trying to keep calm and ride the feeling out…but it didn’t work and after a few minutes I was out for the count. I shared the footage on the blog of what ensued.

I could feel myself being pulled over the barrier and feel being carted off. I was conscious again and saying “Guys! I’m okay!” Lol. Obviously NOT okay, but at least conscious again. They took me out a side exit and sat me on the ground for a few mins. They then got me a chair and I sat there for a few more mins. I was allowed to go back in but had missed a few songs. It was so crowded, I was right at the back and I wasn’t going to risk trying to get to the front and get reunited with my friends.

I didn’t stay in the venue again for too long. There was a bar out the front and some seating, so I just sat and waited until the gig was done.

The Stranglers are ALWAYS top class. They are never anything else. Set was great, I mean the actual stage set…the set list of songs were too. Some songs as a fan but not “uber” fan I was unfamiliar with. And there were a couple of new tracks played and I caught a bit of one of them.

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They’re a stellar act. The venue is small, intimate, and on a personal level, could do with a bit of ventilation. Great otherwise though.

I’ve seen them at least once every year now since 2016 and this year I may end up seeing them twice, all things boding well!

You’ll NEVER be disappointed at a Stranglers gig…even if you do find yourself fainting in the middle of it.

I Need Some Rejuvenation!

Well, the packaging looks amazing. I will invest ASAP.

As for last night’s Stranglers gig? I suffered yet ANOTHER fainting spell. I felt unwell about 30 mins into their set. I sat down for a few mins, but was told to get back up for fear I’d be crushed. Bless his cotton socks! JJ saw me resurface and asked me if I was okay.

I mouthed back at him “yeah, I’m okay.” But I wasn’t. I fresh wave hit me a few minutes later and I was out for the count and hurled over the barrier and taken outside to recover.

More on this in my rather hampered review of the gig on Sunday.

In the meantime, I managed to capture photographic evidence that JJ does indeed smile sometimes!

Whispering Sons

Upon recommendation by sound engineer extraordinaire, Olivier Gerard (aka GG) – I present to you, Whispering Sons. Currently on tour in the UK.  I just missed out seeing them in Bristol. The play Glasgow tonight.

And as Sod’s law would have it, they play The Lexington on Saturday, but I’m seeing Stewart Copeland that night. Had I not been commited to that gig already, I’d have definitely gone to see them.

Maybe if they play near any of you guys in the next few days, you can go and check them out. Give them a listen on Spotify.

They have a fairly dark, atmospheric sound. Think Joy Division meets Editors. I’d have been intrigued to see them. Hopefully I’ll catch them next time.